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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (original 1976; edition 1990)

by Tom Robbins

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4,574421,540 (3.68)84
Title:Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Authors:Tom Robbins
Info:Bantam (1990), Paperback, 365 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:California, fiction, humor

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins (1976)


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English (40)  French (2)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
i was really glad to read this again; it'd been a while since i'd read tom robbins (about 8 years), and more than 10 years since first reading this one, my first of his. i remember liking certain things in it, which helped me keep going this time around. i really found the first nearly half quite hard to get into and through. but i was right in thinking it got better as it went along, once sissy made it to the rubber rose ranch. i think, actually, though, it was that i read the first 120 pages sooooo slooooowly over a week, and made myself read the next 240 pages in most of a day (in time for book group) that made the last 2/3 more palatable. his voice is so odd and so unusual, it makes it hard to read and get into, but when sitting and just reading it straight through, with virtually no breaks, it helps. (it also helps because, as i've said about him before, a reader needs to pay attention to random small things throughout a robbins book, small enough that if read slowly over a long period of time the references will be missed.)

i have such a hard time evaluating this. it wasn't fun to read. the first third was tedious and over the top and while there were passages that i loved or that made me laugh, there were more that made me question why i liked him so much in the past. the rest of the book very much improved for me but it still had plenty of those passages that made me groan or become frustrated or annoyed. but it also had far more places that made me laugh (like virtually every page, actually, once i got into it). it was much more crude than i remember, much more focused on sex, and some of the philosophical discussions were a bit...felt a bit too much like a lecture. still, i always enjoy that at the base of it all he discusses important themes, sometimes buried in a heap of weird stuff, but always there. this one seems to be about being ok with yourself no matter your shortcomings, time, freedom, and happiness.

bottom line is that i mostly didn't enjoy my reading experience this time, but i'm glad i read it, and i know that the more i think about it and the further i get from it, the more i'm going to like it and think i liked the reading of it.

"Water dives from the clouds without parachute, wings or safety net. Water runs over the steepest precipice and blinks not a lash. Water is buried and rises again; water walks on fire and fire gets the blisters...."

"It is questionable, for that matter, whether success is an adequate response to life. Success can eliminate as many options as failure."

"A book no more contains reality than a clock contains time. A book may measure so-called reality as a clock measures so-called time; a book may create an illusion of reality as a clock creates an illusion of time; a book may be real, just as a clock is real (both more real, perhaps, than those ideas to which they allude); but let's not kid ourselves - all a clock contains is wheels and springs and all a book contains is sentences."

i'm not sure if he's making an anti-gay statement at the end, but he's awful progressive so i'd be surprised if he was. still, i don't really like that he says "A woman without her opposite, or a man without his, can exist but not live. Existence may be beautiful, but never whole."

there's a lot that felt haphazard in the writing but i don't doubt that everything is very intentional and thought out. i might not always know what he's doing, but i believe that he does. i still think he's brilliant, i just didn't enjoy it quite as much this time, but it ended better than it started, and i'm feeling better about it already, so i suspect that i'll like it more and more as time goes on. (2 stars)

from may, 2008: this was my first tom robbins so i don't know if he always writes like this, but i have never read anyone like him before. what a quirky, unique way of writing. at times it was so weird that it was distracting, and overall i think it was just a little too over the top for me. but this book is funny at times, and has some really great themes, about freedom and happiness, about being yourself and embracing who you are, about time and how the world thinks about it...also i have to say it was amazing to be reading a book written by a male writer in the 70's who is articulate about patriarchy and gender issues. that was so refreshing and welcome. (3 stars) ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Oct 22, 2018 |
A young girl born with unusually enormous thumbs uses them to hitchhike. Over time, her life intersects with that of many intriguing characters, including the all-female inhabitants of a ranch originally designed to test feminine hygiene products.

I read this book over a year ago but never got around to reviewing it, so this review will be based on my murky memory. It was a highly bizarre book. There was definitely lots of quirky humor, and I was enjoying it in the beginning. After a while though, it started to drag as it delved into increasingly more ridiculous antics. If you enjoy magical realism, you *might* like this book. The characters were certainly unique, and Robbins's writing style is interesting. It can be a bit explicit at times, so that may also reduce its appeal for some readers.

For the audio reader, the narrator did a pretty good job with this book. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Aug 17, 2018 |
I'm not sure why but I could never finish this one. I liked a lot of his other books... Hmmm. ( )
  SoubhiKiewiet | Mar 20, 2018 |
This was weird. Entertaining, but weird. I finished it, and didn't mind reading it, but it was all a bit too far out there for me to really get into. I didn't understand the point of some of the things that were actually focal points. Like the thumbs. What's up with the thumbs? I mean, that just seemed unnecessary and frivolous (and I don't mean to repeat myself.) I think you've gotta be into this off-the-wall sort of imagery. ( )
1 vote Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
It's weird. It's bizarre. It's entirely strange. Its Tom Robbins, and that is why I like it. A little over halfway through and am either laughing outright, rolling my eyes, or perhaps even going cross-eyed at whateverthehell it is that is going on half the time. Favourite character thus far is the Chink.

Hitchhiking has never seemed so grand. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Robbinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
LePere, LeslieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God. Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.
--William Blake
I told Dale, "When I go, just skin me and put me on top of Trigger." And Dale said, "Now don't get any ideas about me."
-- Roy Rogers
To Fleetwood Star Robbins, the apple, the pineapple, the mango, and orchard of my eye. And, of course, to all cowgirls, everywhere.
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Amoebae leave no fossils.
Success can eliminate as many options as failure.
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Wikipedia in English


Book description
Sissy Hankshaw jest wyjątkową dziewczyną, która urodziła się z niezwykle dużymi kciukami. W tej sytuacji mogła wybrać tylko jedną drogę życiową - została autostopowiczką. I to autostopowiczką niezrównaną.Po wieloletnich wędrówkach przez czas i przestrzeń dotarła w końcu na ranczo Gumowej Róży.Tam przyłączyła się do grupy kowbojek i wraz z nimi rozpoczęła walkę o wolność - swoją i żurawi krzykliwych.

[Zysk i S-ka, 1999]
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055334949X, Paperback)

The whooping crane rustlers are girls. Young girls. Cowgirls, as a matter of fact, all “bursting with dimples and hormones”—and the FBI has never seen anything quite like them. Yet their rebellion at the Rubber Rose Ranch is almost overshadowed by the arrival of the legendary Sissy Hankshaw, a white-trash goddess literally born to hitchhike, and the freest female of them all.

Freedom, its prizes and its prices, is a major theme of Tom Robbins’s classic tale of eccentric adventure. As his robust characters attempt to turn the tables on fate, the reader is drawn along on a tragicomic joyride across the badlands of sexuality, wild rivers of language, and the frontiers of the mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:17 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The outrageous bestseller that stars Sissy Hankshaw--flawlessly beautiful, almost. A small-town girl with big-time dreams and a quirk to match--hitchhiking her way into your heart, your hopes, and your sleeping bag. . . . Follow Sissy's amazing odyssey from Virginia to Manhattan to the Dakota Badlands, where FBI agents, cowgirls and ecstatic whooping cranes explode in a deliciously drawn-out climax.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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